As a citizen, it is your right to protest and to make your views known. Lord knows, there is plenty to gripe about these days. The hallmark of a democratic society is the existence of grass roots organizations. There are as many of them as there are issues. We certainly don’t agree with them all. Some have grown in stature and importance like the Republican offshoot of the tea party. It is now a fundamental part of politics with a lot of clout. Meanwhile other groups keep plugging away at their cause. It is hard to keep up with them all, but they have ways of calling attention to themselves.
For example, there is one sector of an independent party that wants to make public what they feel is the government flip-flopping their position on an issue. It has to do with corporate controls of waste dumping. Laws were proposed but never passed. It was a great disappointment. So the group started an online campaign to have people mail some cheap flip flops to their representatives in congress. While it is inherently quite funny, they were serious about their cause. They did get a pretty good response and over fifty pairs are said to have been received. The media was ecstatic. They had amusing photos of the congressmen holding the beach shoes exhibiting smirky grins. The press shad a field day with this one. Other groups will have to think long and hard to top this antic. These protestors certainly had a sense of humor. It just goes to show you what a little ingenuity will do. You can write manifestos, you can give speeches, and you can mount conventional protests with posters and signs.
One of the great things about this country is the ability to freely protest whenever you want. No matter who agrees or doesn’t agree with your cause. Of course, protest is a way to garner supporters who are first learning about the issues. Protesters can also write petitions and gain followers on the Internet. There are many ways to exercise your rights. There are several sites underway now to circulate petitions and ask for donations. What better way for grassroots organizations to open a dialogue with the public. Anyone can start a petition and its success will reflect the value and timeliness of the cause. Some issues are national and some are local. Those that affect a multitude of people will find support. I have yet to see a petition as clever as the flip flop campaign. It is amazing how many people jumped right on that bandwagon. The congressmen were good sports and accepted the gesture with some humility. No one is reported to have made overly snide remarks to the press. I think it would not have served them well from a public relations perspective.
So if you have a cause you are itching to promote, keep this story in mind and get creative.